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Fall is here in Michigan. The carefree lazy days of summer have faded away.  For some of us, it's time to adjust to new schedules, figure out how to juggle kids' school, and make that difficult transition to a season of much shorter and colder days.  For me, the fun part about fall is shopping for new clothes.  Of course, before I cram my closets with new outfits, I need to get rid of the old stuff.  A clean closet holding only the essentials keeps me organized and moving efficiently every morning – important when you have two kids who ask for more sugar on top of their Count Chocula! I've found that those same principles of cutting clutter in order to operate more efficiently at home also apply to Advantage.  And, it's with that thought that I hope to inspire you to also tune-up your Advantage system by removing all the extraneous data that you no longer need.

Over time, your Advantage system can get disorderly with all sorts of files and extra data that can slow down operations and make it difficult to locate important files.  If you haven't purged any of your data since the original implementation project, perhaps it's time to think about removing data that no longer has any value.

Improving Performance Let's look at some of the main reasons for purging data:

  • Faster Advantage processing time
  • Decreased backups and restore periods
  • Reduced disk space
  • Speedier Advantage lookups

After removing your old data, you'll notice that Advantage processes run faster, because there are fewer records to process.  Smaller datasets also yields quicker lookups in Advantage views and workspaces.  Additionally, a smaller database can help reduce the necessary backup time and conserve valuable disk space.

If you are interested in realizing these benefits, there are 3 key steps you should follow for getting your Advantage system in order:

  1. Ensure system options are set to retain the appropriate amounts of data
  2. Run an initial set of Advantage purge processes
  3. Establish an ongoing purge schedule

Setting System Options The first step is also one of the simplest tasks in cleaning up your Advantage area.  Here are some system options that you can use to limit the amount of transactional data, user reports, logs, and other temporary files that you may no longer need.

*To view images in a larger format, right click and select 'view image.'

Running an Initial Purge Once your files are organized, you're ready to perform an initial purge of old Advantage data using standard purge processes.  There are numerous purge programs available across several modules.  And, each purge process produces a sequential file of the records removed from the database; very helpful should it ever be necessary to load this data back into Advantage for viewing, analysis, or reporting.  Note that these sequential files are immediately removed from the production server and transferred to offline storage.

The purges are split out by module. The principle areas where significant disk space and performance improvements can be achieved are described in the table below.

There are also numerous purge programs that are available in other modules, such as Campaign, Royalty, and Book Club. Review Appendix B, the online help, or your associated module user guides for more information about these processes.

Implementing Ongoing Purges Many improvements result from the initial purge.  However, without an ongoing program, the database will eventually grow to its previous size and possibly even larger (see Figure 1 below).  Rather than performing a huge purge every so many years requiring careful planning and coordination, you might consider establishing an ongoing program where data is removed more frequently in smaller increments.

Figure 1: An ongoing purge can help ensure that the database does not grow back to its original size or larger.

The ongoing purge program is usually developed after the initial purge is completed, because the organization develops a better understanding of how long processes take to run, how much disk space is saved, and how lookups are improved.  This enables your organization to easily determine a suitable purge plan and frequency.  I provided some general recommendations and an outline in Appendix C that you might find helpful toward establishing your own ongoing purge program.

Getting Your Purge Underway Advantage provides comprehensive and automated data management tools that help you limit the size of your database and the number of files, reports, and logs that are maintained.  There have also been several recent enhancements made to Advantage purge processes that enable you to run purges during operational hours and also in smaller increments that can be customized through select sets.

With the start of a new season, I encourage you to look at your Advantage areas to determine whether some additional cleanup could be helpful.  Be sure to run purges in a test area if you're inexperienced with these programs or it's been a long time since a purge process has been run.  Your ACS representative can assist you with planning an initial purge, establishing an ongoing purge program, or better understanding how a purge could optimize your Advantage system.

Appendix A – OPR/ARCHV system options used by CDSCLN

Appendix B - Advantage Purge Processes

*Remember to always verify a purge process in a test environment before running in Production

*Note that customers can only be removed if there is no activity for them in other modules. Therefore, start with purging those modules first. CDS819 creates a customer purge work file (CDSCPG-R) that CDS820 uses.

Appendix C - Ongoing Purge Process Schedule

*Remember to always verify a purge process in a test environment before running in Production

*To view images in a larger format, right click and select 'view image.'



Filed under: Answers from Angie